Cave Clutter: forests, ocarinas, and fables
It’s been all sorts of busy over here in the Great White North. I had my two weeks of vacation at the end of August, where I tried to fit in as much gaming and relaxation as I could. And then right after that, I was thrown into a major project at work, and I’m still working on it actually. Complete website redesigns are a lot of work, I tell ya. And it was really hard to go from waking up at noon/going to sleep at 4am to walking up at 7am/attempted to fall asleep before 11pm. I’m pretty certain my brain had been zombified for a while.
But putting boring work aside, lots of gaming has been accomplished over the past month or so and it is time to lay it all out.
This was a little game that I found on sale on Steam and downloaded on the whim. While it’s a short point-and-click adventure (I finished the whole thing in 5 hours), I have to say that I loved it. You guide these five tree creature things to save the last seed of their tree, as their own tree has been infested with parasitic spiders. The graphics are wonderfully done, the music is fantastic, and the story is just damn cute. There were a few times that I got stuck on a puzzle but the majority of it was relatively intuitive. The part that I find the most interesting about it is that there’s no “words” whatsoever. The entire story is told through a combination of pictures, sounds, and music. It must have been an interesting challenge to do that but I think they did a fantastic job. And they created a game that anyone in any language can understand without spending a fortune on translations. One downside of it is there really isn’t much replay value because the storyline doesn’t change no matter what you do. But I like to think of it as a virtual book that you can read/play again and again at your leisure.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
One of the things that I decided to do over my vacation was to finally finish Ocarina of Time. You see, I had started playing it over a decade ago when it was a current game on the N64. It was the first game that really caught me with the storyline, and it lead to my love for RPGs. But I never finished it. I got stuck at the Water Temple and just never picked it up again.
The whole completing it over my vacation…didn’t actually pan out. I started over right from the beginning and played it for two solid days, stopping only to eat, sleep, shower, etc. I finally got frustrated with the Forest Temple and walked away. I have yet to pick up the controller again.
Playing OoT made me realize how different modern RPGs are from back then. There’s a lot more side quests, more exploration, more thorough character development, and a lot less challenge. At least, that’s how it seems to me. In addition, modern RPGs wouldn’t do something like give you an awesome weapon like the boomerang, only to make it unusable to you a short time later. Jabu-Jabu’s Belly really sucked until I got that thing and the hookshot is a damn poor replacement. There are also so many hidden things that I would not have found if I hadn’t glanced occasionally at some walkthroughs. Hidden things are still common now but they seem more obvious in current games.
The N64 is still set up, just waiting to be used. So one day, I will get back to it and finally finish the damn game.
Fable I & III
Luckily, I can put the first Fable game down as a game that I have actually completed. Having played Fable II before this one, I can definitely see the improvements that they made. For one thing, there’s no dog in Fable I! Your dog companion is one of the best parts of the whole game. I love how it would run around and find dig spots and treasure for you, growl when there’s enemies nearby, tear out the throats of enemies you’ve knocked to the ground…he’s really indispensable. Being stuck as a male character is kind of a bummer, but it is something they fixed in the games to follow so it was something I could live with. Fishing for items in the water was annoying at best; diving is so much easier and quicker. In some ways, the combat was both better and worse. I didn’t like the combo system, but once I realized that there were useful spells for a melee fighter like me (Physical Shield and Assassin Rush in particular), fighting became a lot easier.
Overall though, it’s still a solid game like Fable II. The storyline is well done and humor is sprinkled throughout. Like how you start off with the title “Chicken Chaser” and can later buy the title “Arseface”. And who could pass up a game of Chicken Kicking? It was also interesting to see how things were in the past, with the Hero’s Guild still in use and Jack of Blades terrorizing the country side. And I love the whole background about Theresa…but I don’t want to give away too much. Fable II is better in my eyes but I’m glad that I took the time to finish Fable I.
I’ve since started Fable III but haven’t gotten too far in it. In this one, it’s the first time that your character actually has a voice and says lines of dialogue, rather than simply making small noises whenever they emote. I’m not certain if it’s better or worse, just different. It definitely succeeds in giving the character more of her own personality. I do love seeing her show so much affection to her canine companion (who helps you out again, yay!). The storyline seems rather linear so far, but it could be that I haven’t progressed enough yet. I’ll talk more about it once I’ve been able to play some more.
My deed on Independence has been getting the majority of my attention. I spent a bunch of time (as well as boatload of iron and stone bricks) changing all my low stone walls to iron fences around my pastures. It’s unfortunate that the texture for low stone walls doesn’t really match anything else, and the new stone fence was too high for my tastes. So now the place looks a little classier. 😉
There have also been other small improvements such as adding flowerboxes and marble slabs to the inn courtyard, putting up rope fences around my garden, replacing some gravel roads with marble, repairing and improving statues, and so on. The most time- and resource-consuming one was the guard tower that I built in my deed. Now my templar will have backup for taking down trolls and other scary monsters (not that they come around that often).
On Pristine, I’ve mostly been in maintenance mode. Farming and grooming the animals takes up most of my time there, along with harvesting fruits as they come into season. I did a little more terraforming…but my heart really isn’t into it. It’s something that really needs to be done while watching a movie…or a dozen movies. I really need to buy myself a high quality shovel with WoA on it so I can just fly through that dirt.
Once things settle down a little bit at work (haha, like that ever happens), I’ll hopefully be able to squeeze in some more gaming time. Maybe I’ll even find the energy to terraform my Pristine deed some more. I know it needs to be done but I loathe doing it. Any suggestions to get me motivated?